• UNUM Disability Appeal Strategy for a Disability Benefit Denial
  • How To Prepare A Unum Disability Appeal With A Lawyer
  • Unum Disability Denial & Appeal Tips
  • Why Is It Important Not To Rush Your ERISA Disability Appeal?
  • Your Doctors' Failure to Document All of Your Complaints Can Result in Denial of LTD Benefits
  • Your ERISA Disability Benefit Appeal Must Include Everything
  • An ERISA Long Term Disability Appeal Is Challenging
  • ERISA Disability Appeal - 5 Reasons You Should Have A Disability Attorney
  • Important Steps to Take for an ERISA Disability Benefit Appeal
  • An ERISA Appeal for Disability Insurance Benefits Must Be Perfect
  • A Senator's View of ERISA Disability Insurance Claims
  • Disability Company Medical File Reviews By Hired Gun Doctors Are A Sham

Unum Disability Appeal

We want to discuss with you if we can win your Unum disability Appeal. Whether it’s an ERISA appeal or a private disability policy, you only get once chance to submit a great disability appeal. Our disability insurance lawyers have reviewed thousands of Unum short and long term disability denials on behalf of claimants nationwide. There is nothing we have not seen and we know exactly what is required in order to give you the best chance to win your appeal.

How Can I Win My Unum Disability Appeal?

I would like to give you our special formula for how to win a Unum ERISA disability appeal, but it’s simply not possible. Every Unum disability benefit denial is unique because the definition of disability is different in most Unum disability policies, everyone has different medical conditions that prevent them from working, and lastly the duties of your occupation are specific to your employer’s required daily job responsibilities. Our success in winning disability appeals comes from working very closely and strategically with you, your treating doctors, vocational consultants and an in-depth dissection of the Unum disability claim file prepared for your claim denial. Our lawyers take a custom approach to how we handle every appeal and it starts with an initial free phone consultation in which we will review your Unum disability denial letter and ask you some very specific questions. After reviewing your Unum denial letter and speaking with you, we will usually have enough information in order to determine if we can help you.

Your Unum Disability Claim File Must Be Thoroughly Analyzed

In your Unum denial letter, Unum gave you the right to request a complete copy of your claim file. ERISA regulations require Unum to prepare and send you this claim file within 30 days of a written request. Most Unum disability benefit denials are because Unum has determined that the claimant does not have sufficient medical limitations which prevent the claimant from working in a specific occupation or any occupation. The basis for Unum’s denial is required to be submitted in their denial letter, but the documents supporting the disability denial are contained in the claim file. The claim file is supposed to contain every single document, medical record, financial record, internal emails, memos and notes, your disability plan documents, video surveillance and any medical record reviews conducted by Unum. Depending on how long your disability claim has been pending, your claim file can range from 500 to 10,000 pages. The Unum claim files are often intentionally disorganized and require legal experience in order to know what information in the claim file is relevant to preparing a strong appeal. We always request the claim file for our clients and upon receipt we immediately organize and analyze the claim file so that we can prepare a plan of attack that puts our client in the best position to win disability benefits.

A Unum Disability Appeal Plan Of Attack Is Required To Win a Unum Appeal

After our lawyers complete a full analysis of your Unum claim file and review all of your up to date medical records, we formulate a plan of attack that we believe must be followed in preparation of your Unum appeal. Our plan always includes a medical and occupational duties strategy. Every plan is anchored by determining what additional medical documentation and support we must help you obtain to prove your disability. Doctors became doctors to treat medical conditions of patients and did not receive training for how to complete insurance company disability claim form statements. Doctors usually can’t stand insurance companies and while they want to help patients they get frustrated and don’t properly document a patient’s restrictions and limitations. Treating doctors usually document medical records for purposes of treating you and are not assuming that their medical records will be dissected by a disability insurance company.

Unum insurance company takes advantage of what they call insufficient medical documentation by your doctor and often relies on it to deny your claim. Our job during the appeal process is to work with you and your treating doctors to obtain the medical documentation that we know Unum must see to support a claim. In addition, we will suggest additional diagnostic testing or medical consultations with different medical specialist if we believe it will help bolster your claim.

In some appeals we will have you undergo a functional capacity exam or an independent medical exam. In certain appeals we will submit medical literature from leading medical publications which support your symptoms, limitations and potential risks associated with your condition. In every appeal we handle we draft custom attending physician statements for each of your doctors. Our physician statements are specific to your Unum disability policy definition of disability and your specific medical condition(s). The attending physician statements drafted by Unum and previously completed by your treating doctors are generic and intentionally designed by Unum to offer limited support for your claim. Diagnosis does not equal disability. This means that we must work with your treating doctors to document your restrictions and limitations as a result of your diagnosis. Our disability lawyers are very good at getting this done and it is the most important part of a successful Unum appeal.

Clear Presentation of Either Your Occupational Duties or Any Occupation Must be Presented in Your Unum Appeal

Your treating doctors must have a clear understanding of your occupational duties pre-disability and the duties required for you to perform any occupation that you may be qualified to perform. We have represented claimants in every occupation and have developed a very practical approach for how we present the duties of either your occupation or any occupation to your doctors. In a high percentage of disability claims the claimant must be unable to do a sedentary desk job in order to be disabled and our job is to get your doctors to properly document why you cannot do a sedentary job. Unum wrongfully thinks that if you can sit a desk for more than four hours a day, then you are capable of working. Any job requires far more than the ability to just sit in a chair for more than four hours. Unum’s method for analyzing a sedentary occupation is outrageous as no one’s job description says “must be able sit for four hours a day and nothing else required”. In disability policies that have an own occupation definition of disability we conduct our own occupation specific industry research and work closely with you and your past co-workers to present extensive documentation in support of your occupational duties.

The Manner in Which a Final Unum Appeal is Written Must Be Strategic

This paragraph may contain more legal information than your care to know so I will try to make it as simple as possible. We also have a video below discussing the importance of a strategically drafted ERISA appeal and you can also call us for further clarification and help with your appeal. There is only one chance to submit a Unum appeal and it must be drafted in a manner so as to not tell Unum everything they did wrong. Most people, including lawyers that don’t focus their legal practice on Unum appeals will submit appeals where they basically give Unum a roadmap on how to review the appeal by telling Unum everything they did wrong on the initial review. They will include lots of case law and a detailed criticism of everything Unum did wrong. This is not a helpful strategy and really does nothing more than guide Unum as to how to conduct a reasonable review of your initial claim denial.

The “reasonable review” language is key because if your appeal is denied by Unum and an ERISA lawsuit is filed, a judge must review the denial and apply an unfair legal standard called “abuse of discretion”. The abuse of discretion standard requires a judge to first determine if the claimant is disabled and then if the judge thinks the claimant is disabled, the Judge can only reverse the claim denial if he or she thinks the review conducted by Unum was unreasonable. So a Judge can find that a claimant was disabled, but Unum’s review of the claim with a conclusion of not disabled was reasonable. In this scenario the claimant loses the case as the Judge must defer to the reasonable review conducted by the insurance company. Because of the abuse of discretion standard that applies to any Unum disability policy that contains a “discretionary clause”, we always draft a strategic appeal that focuses on your medical restrictions/limitations and how you are disabled in accordance with your disability policy’s definition of disability. There are a few states where the discretionary clause is illegal and the judge’s decision on the claim will be final regardless of the reasonableness of Unum’s appeal review.

Regardless of the standard of review that will apply to your Unum disability appeal denial, our have a very specific style of organizing, preparing and drafting Unum appeals letters which has helped thousands of disability claimants nationwide to receive their disability insurance benefits.

We hope you find all of the additional information we have on website about Unum helpful and we look forward to discussing your Unum disability appeal with you.

When we review your claim we will give you an immediate and honest opinion about your chances of recovering disability insurance benefits from Unum. Don’t let Unum or anyone else convince you to handle your Appeal without legal help as you are about to go to battle against a company that averages almost one billion dollars a year in profits. No matter how big or scary Unum may seem, we have recovered disability insurance benefits for our Unum clients in more than 95% of the Unum disability cases our law firm has accepted. To help you learn as much as possible about Unum and the ERISA Appeal process we encourage you to watch our multiple Unum videos.


Do you work in my state?

Yes. We are a national disability insurance law firm that is available to represent you regardless of where you live in the United States. We have partner lawyers in every state and we have filed lawsuits in most federal courts nationwide. Our disability lawyers represent disability claimants at all stages of a claim for disability insurance benefits. There is nothing that our lawyers have not seen in the disability insurance world.

What are your fees?

Since we represent disability insurance claimants at different stages of a disability insurance claim we offer a variety of different fee options. We understand that claimants living on disability insurance benefits have a limited source of income; therefore we always try to work with the claimant to make our attorney fees as affordable as possible.

The three available fee options are a contingency fee agreement (no attorney fee or cost unless we make a recovery), hourly fee or fixed flat rate.

In every case we provide each client with a written fee agreement detailing the terms and conditions. We always offer a free initial phone consultation and we appreciate the opportunity to work with you in obtaining payment of your disability insurance benefits.

Do I have to come to your office to work with your law firm?

No. For purposes of efficiency and to reduce expenses for our clients we have found that 99% of our clients prefer to communicate via telephone, e-mail, fax, GoToMeeting.com sessions, or Skype. If you prefer an initial in-person meeting please let us know. A disability company will never require you to come to their office and similarly we are set up so that we handle your entire claim without the need for you to come to our office.

How can I contact you?

When you call us during normal business hours you will immediately speak with a disability attorney. We can be reached at 800-682-8331 or by email. Lawyer and staff must return all client calls same day. Client emails are usually replied to within the same business day and seem to be the preferred and most efficient method of communication for most clients.

Dell & Schaefer Client Reviews   *****

Patricia T. (Florida)

If you think the insurance company is going to be FAIR, you are WRONG! Get an attorney, I recommend Dell & Schaefer. They entered my life approximately 4 years ago. I was in the mid years of my life, moving along routinely finishing up my 29th year of continuous employment as a professional Acute Care Registered Nurse, looking ahead to planning my future and possibilities ahead of me. I had planned to work at least another 15 years and maybe more if I could. I was hitting the peak of my value in the health system that employed me and I loved my job. Income was never an issue for me, as in my profession I could always find work and make as much income as I needed raising a family etc… But just incase, my father always taught me to have a safety net. So every year for 29 years, around benefit time I would fill out the forms and check the boxes for STD and LTD and pay the monthly dues for those policies in case I would ever need them, never expecting to use them. Well life had other plans for me.

My illness began slowly, I made adjustments to my work schedule and life schedule hoping that would allow me to stay employed. I didn’t want to give up the money, my benefits, the years experience I had, the value I had to contribute etc… That lasted for about a year and half then suddenly my body just couldn’t do it anymore. My illness exacerbated, necessitating me to leave work. I went out on my STD policy and initially Aetna the carrier of the policy was cooperative and approved my claim. After several months when I didn’t improve my STD policy was over and it was time to begin my LTD. At this point Aetna suddenly switched and began to deny all my claims for the same illness they had previously approved. I was shocked and bewildered, I could not believe how Aetna could be doing such a thing. What was happening, how could they just say NO! This wasn’t fair, I paid into this for 29 years… and was lost as to what to do.

I did some research on line, and found out this was a common thing all insurers were doing to people who had these kind of policies. What a rip off I thought. Here I thought I had a safety net. I was so angry and realised I was disillusioned about this system and having a safety net. I sat and cried fluctuating between anger, sadness, worry, the gamut of feelings. What should I do I thought, I need help and help fast. I couldn’t live without income. I did some more research and found Dell & Schaefer, I went through their website reading all the information and decided I need to call them to see if they could help me. My illness was not listed as a common illness for disability approval.

When I called them, they put me through immediately to someone and took some information. Later that day an attorney called me back and went through my situation explaining to me all my options and that they could help me. I wasn’t ready to make a decision on the spot, so I told them I would call them back. I was skeptical because at this point I didn’t trust anyone for numerous reasons and felt like all the systems I had faith in were failing me. Is this going to be another rip off, I thought?

After thinking about it for a day or two and consulting friends and family, I nervously called back Dell & Schaefer and I told them my concerns, we talked some more they never pressured me. I reluctantly agreed, not because of something they said, it was my own issue with trust now clouding my decision. Reflecting back that was the best decision I ever made. My attorney in the firm was Alex Palamara, I dealt with him exclusively and he always called me back, emailed me and let me know what was happening promptly. Nothing was ever too small for him to answer and he had compassion when I would complain about how unfair Aetna was being with their denial of my case. And YES, they did deny, and are still trying to find ways to deny me to this day 4 years later. Through the hard work and timely action taking by the attorney my appeal was reversed and my claim continues to be approved with the help of the attorney. I no longer have random calls from Aetna asking me repetitive questions that I already answered numerous times and the firm continues to coordinate the yearly reviews with Aetna and my physicians. I faced another denial at the two year mark when the policy changes the definition of gainful employment. Yea isn’t that beauty they sneak into the policy that you have really don’t understand. Alex anticipated that fought that and I have had a seamless benefit check now for 4 straight years.

I will not give up my representation, as educated as I am, in no way am I versed in disability law and the new ways insurance companies try to get out of paying the policy we have paid our hard earned money into for a safety net. I know things will not be easy and I will have to fight to continue my benefits, having Dell & Schaefer gives me security that someone will be there fighting for me and my benefits. I can’t thank them enough, I find them to be prompt, compassionate, knowledgeable and very fair with their fees. If you are thinking about hiring an attorney for representation you will be pleased with this firm. As a side note, my last years of employment I worked for a large hospital system, my job was coordinating with the hospital, physicians and Insurance companies to make sure the hospital would get paid. Specifically, I worked on denials of patients inpatient hospital bills. The insurance company would deny claims for the most unbelievable reasons. They know some people will just give up and not fight, that’s what they are counting on. I didn’t think they would do the same thing with STD and LTD policies, I was wrong and naive. Do yourself a favour, HIRE an attorney immediately from the beginning, otherwise the carrier will jerk you around till you give up, and you may inadvertently say or fill out a form wrong or miss a date and boom you are denied. You will never get your benefit you paid into. Hire Dell & Schaefer.

***** 5 stars based on 202 reviews

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